Sunday, April 6, 2014

Morrowind Day 84 - A Challenge from Beyond

7 Sun's Dusk
By the cardinal directions of a compass, I woke this morning just about halfway done with my self-imposed duty to walk the coast of Vvardenfell. By the amount of time that still needs to be spent, I may as well have not yet started. This is a slow process, though I have already achieved more progress than I thought I would...or at least it feels like progress.

The land north and west of Gnisis was my goal today. While the town is one of the last outposts of Imperial influence on my trip around the island, Gnisis itself is not  terribly imposing, nor is the fortress attached to it. The most noteworthy thing about it is that the garrison of Fort Darius is composed almost entirely of Orcs, a fact only noteworthy here on an island full of Dunmer. 

Gnisis does not boast a thriving mercantile, nor representation from any of the Imperial guilds, making it rather difficult to find the supplies I was looking for. Had I known, I would have purchased more scrolls of healing when I had been able to, for I woke today with none at all and no way to get more.
A Dwemer ruin loomed out of the morning haze, but the land between the west gate of Gnisis and the former fortress was very hilly and broken up. I also did not expect a Dwemer ruin to hold any secrets pertaining to Dagoth Ur or the Sixth House as it seems that the god-king's Dunmer arrogance prevented him from seeing the Dwemer fortresses as suitable accommodation for his reviving House.

I encountered a pair of bandits on the far side of a rope bridge and they predictably attacked me with cheap weapons and poor tactics. If I become any more callous I would cease to mention their deaths at all, for it is becoming rather routine. It does show how thinly stretched the Imperial Legion is though, when bandits can be safely camping right outside a garrisoned Imperial stronghold with no fear of arrest or death. Should Dagoth Ur's monstrous legions burst from within Red Mountain, I do not have much hope that the Legion will be anything other than a minor impediment. 

I dutifully followed the shoreline west out of Gnisis and came across a small den of smugglers situated high on a hill overlooking the water. Much like the bandits at the bridge, I have not a lot to say about them. They were more numerous than most smugglers, certainly more than six, but none of them were any threat to me. One of them ineptly wielded a Dwemer shortblade, which I kept for myself. I found two Ash Statues on top a crate full of junk, but that was it.

Continuing along the shore I passed an old, dis-masted shipwreck and an ancestral tomb. The Dwemer ruin loomed in front of me as I stood in front of the tomb, but to visit the ruin meant going away from the coast in order to loop around to a bridge, for the ruin was built on a plateau too steep to scale and I did not feel like expending my energy on an expensive levitation spell. I decided to complete my walk along the shore first, for it would lead me back to the ruin anyway.

Climbing over a natural rock bride, I nearly walked right into one of the four-legged Kwama worker creatures, but it simply sniffed me (I think) and wandered off. Its egg mine was not far from the bridge and I left the creature and the mine alone. What need do I have for a bunch of Kwama eggs?

North of the mine was a Daedric ruin preceded by the ruined structures of what looked like housing, an unusual find, but not an interesting one. The torches in front of the least-ruined building were lit, but I could see no signs of habitation anyway around the area. Quite a mystery.
The Daedric ruin was partially flooded and the Daedroth guarding it were hesitant to dip their feet into the water, making it easy for me to dodge their spells and dispatch them with my bow. I was met just inside the shrine by a Dremora  armed with an equally priceless and heavy Daedric longsword, but my improving skills with the bow weakened him a great deal before he was able to engage me. At the shrine itself was another Dremora armed with a Dwemer axe, plus two heavily armed Dunmer, one wearing a powerfully enchanted ring, the other a belt. I will save both until I can turn them over to Galbedir to see what it is I have found.

As I was leaving the shrine a booming voice seemed to fill the entire room, greatly startling me, I have no shame in admitting. The voice laughed and asked if I was up to a little challenge. When I asked the voice's name, I was answered with 'Mehrunes Dagon', the Daedric Prince of Destruction, among other nasty things. He (or it, I suppose) challenged me to find a dagger secluded in a tomb near Molag Mar, far to the southeast. 

One does not bargain lightly with a Daedric Prince, but I agreed to his task out of curiosity. A weapon of great power was promised, though I do not think I will feel comfortable using anything he will give me. The 'normal' Daedric weapons make me uneasy enough.

It was late into the evening when I left the Daedric ruins and I decided to go back to Gnisis by the way past the Dwemer ruin. An Imperial lady was fretfully pacing in front of a small lake past the ruin. Upon seeing me she asked if I could delve into the lake after a ring of hers and hinted at a monetary reward should I return it. Money is still not a problem for me, but the task sounded simple, so naturally it was more complicated than it seemed, but not by much.

The ring really was in the lake and I found it easily. As I walked back up the short path from the lake an arrow flew over my shoulder and the "lady" came charging down the path with a dagger in hand. The whole thing had been a trap and executed slightly better than the bandits I have typically been finding. The woman had a friend nearby armed with a bow and a Chameleon-enchanted ring. When she had heard my approach, the friend must have activated the ring and waited for me to return to what they must have hoped would be a fatal storm of arrows.

Instead her friend got two arrows off, one of which missed, the other harmlessly bouncing off my helmet and promising nothing worse than a headache later. Neither my damsel in distress nor the hidden archer had anything beyond surprise on their side and they both fell quickly with no harm done to me. As for her ring, it was pretty, but mundane and I threw it back into the lake I had found it in.

By the time I reached Fort Darius it was close to midnight and I do not feel like I accomplished much today. I will continue my journey tomorrow, but now I will be entering the wastes of the east, then the territory of the Telvanni. It will only become more difficult as I continue forwards, but I still feel that this is something I must do.

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